Conversations about A. Huntington: Hispanist, Patron and Friend

06/19/2019

On June 19, the event "Conversations about A. Huntington: Hispanist, patron and friend" took place at the Instituto Cervantes headquarters in Madrid.

This discussion was an initiative of the Fundación Consejo España - EE.UU. in collaboration with the historian Patricia Fernández, author of the recent publication on the prestigious American personality Archer M. Huntington. On the book -the result of an exhaustive research-, Fernández addresses some aspects of Huntington’s life very little known to date. Thus, for example, we discover a Huntington in love with Spanish culture, a character that in addition to the many projects he undertook throughout his life as a great philanthropist, he even cultivate a poet face, whilst he maintained excellent personal and epistolary relations on both sides of the Atlantic with many other illustrious Spanish references (aristocrats, intellectuals, artists, etc.).

The appearance of this new book was the perfect pretext to outline an active conversation with the author and two good connoisseurs of Archer Huntington, Octavio Ruiz-Manjón (Academic number of the Royal Academy of History) and Andrés Gil (Vice President of the Board of the Hispanic Society of America). The event was designed to tackle not only of the immense legacy of Huntington but also to delve into some of the most unknown aspects of the philanthropist and American Hispanist.

After the welcome words of the Secretary General of the Fundación, Manuel Lejarreta, Dr. Fernández took the floor to begin a brief tour that illustrated the three facets about Huntington contained in the title (Hispanist, donor and friend), to end with a reflection on its role as a bridge between Spain and the US. She finished her first intervention with a reference to the figure of Huntington in the Spain in the Fifties with the intention of giving depth and nuances to the vision that has traditionally remained about Huntington and his relationship with Franco’s regime.

Then Academician Ruiz-Manjón approached the topic of Hispanicism from a historical perspective regarding Huntington's relations with Federico de Onís, Ramón Menéndez Pidal and the Institute of Historical Studies. Andrés Gil, on the other hand, based his intervention on the present state of the Hispanic Society and included a brief and moving video about the current activities of the institution. After the interventions of the three experts, the floor was opened to the numerous attendees who attended the meeting, giving rise to an interesting debate among all the participants.